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Poll highlights problem of discrimination at work

Two-thirds of peo­ple in pain have expe­ri­enced dis­crim­i­na­tion at work, the find­ings of an online poll con­duct­ed by Pain Con­cern suggest.

One hun­dred and six peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed in the sur­vey on Pain Concern’s HealthUn­locked forum, with 70 answer­ing ‘Yes’ to the ques­tion: ‘Do you feel you have had any dis­crim­i­na­to­ry expe­ri­ences at work due to your disability/pain condition(s)? Please feel free to describe below.’

The dis­cus­sion high­light­ed mul­ti­ple exam­ples of unlaw­ful dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices. One respon­dent was told at a job inter­view that ‘we don’t employ peo­ple with arthri­tis’, while anoth­er was laid off after 27 years of ser­vice for non-atten­dance even though they were on statu­to­ry sick leave. The lat­ter per­son suc­cess­ful­ly appealed and was award­ed ear­ly retire­ment on health grounds.

The dis­cus­sion also raised issues of employ­ers not tak­ing into account the stress of jug­gling work and pain man­age­ment, lack of under­stand­ing of their ‘invis­i­ble’ con­di­tion and ver­bal abuse and harassment.

Amid the dis­ap­point­ing pic­ture paint­ed by the poll were some bright spots. An NHS employ­ee was able to have her work­day restruc­tured to pro­vide more vari­ety and avoid lengthy peri­ods of sit­ting down. Anoth­er report­ed that their employ­er made phys­i­cal adjust­ments, includ­ing an ergonom­ic chair and a foot rest.

For advice on your rights, if you feel you have been dis­crim­i­nat­ed against at work visit: